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First look: Nissan upgrades X-Trail

Family appearance: Nissan's X-Trail compact SUV is set to get a fresh look, just in time for the Australian International Motor Show.

Facelifted X-Trail emerges ahead of Sydney show debut, before 2WD joins range

3 Aug 2010

NISSAN has revealed a midlife makeover for its three-year-old X-Trail in Europe, ahead of the upgraded compact SUV’s Australian debut at the Sydney motor show on October 15.

The facelifted X-Trail range, which will be joined by the first sub-$30,000 2WD variant a few months later, will appear at Darling Harbour alongside the all-new Micra, which goes on sale here in December, and perhaps Nissan’s redesigned Patrol, which joins the current model here in early 2011.

Presenting revised exterior styling and improved interior comfort and quality, the 2011 X-Trail will be the first major upgrade of the second-generation small SUV launched here in October 2007, and joined in July 2008 by the first diesel version.

X-Trail sales were up more than 20 per cent in the first half of this year, but thanks largely to the cheaper Dualis, which is now available in seven-seat and 2WD guises, it commands a more modest 8.2 per cent share of Australia’s fastest growing SUV segment.

The former top-selling compact crossover trails Subaru’s dominant Forester (13.4 per cent), as well as Toyota’s RAV4 (12.5 per cent), Mazda’s CX-7 (8.8 per cent) and Mitsubishi’s Outlander (8.4 per cent).

Changes for 2011 are led by a fully restyled front-end comprising a new front bumper, grille and headlights. Designed to make the X-Trail look more sophisticated and dynamic, the new look includes a grille that “flows down” into the bumper and a protruding lower bumper profile to suggest a wider footprint.

12 center imageMore technical headlight designs straddle a higher-quality grille with trademark twin angled struts that bookend a heavily chromed Nissan logo. In Europe, high-series models gain Xenon main beam globes, with headlight backgrounds painted black on all grades, front indicators remaining integrated into the assembly above the headlights and foglights now recessed into the bumper below the headlights.

The X-Trail’s distinctive vertical tail-lights have been upgraded to include LED technology, while the addition of slightly wider 18-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels with 225/55 tyres in Europe has necessitated slightly wider wheel-arch moulding. Overseas entry-level models will also score a new, more premium-look 17-inch wheel design.

The changes increase the X-Trail’s overall length, width and height by 10mm.

Inside, Nissan says the revised improved materials and better colour coordination – particularly around the base of the A-pillar – aim to give the X-Trail cabin a more harmonious ambience.

Higher quality materials are now applied to the switch surrounds on the steering wheel, around the gear selector and on the door armrest, while the cloth seats are trimmed in a thicker, soft-touch material and leather-clad models gain more premium-look stitching.

A revised instrument panel comprises larger, clearer speedo and tacho dials either side of a new white-on-black trip computer display that shows fuel consumption, fuel range, average speed, outside temperature and a range of warning displays.

Redesigned front seats are said to liberate an extra 10mm of rear knee room without compromising front-seat comfort, the rear seat gains a two-position heating function, the rear luggage cover material has been upgraded, an upgraded air-conditioning is claimed to offer improved warm-up and cool-down speeds and the X-Trail’s glovebox can now either keep its contents warm or cold.

In Europe, the X-Trail’s dCi diesel engine will meet the tighter Euro 5 emissions standard by featuring an extra injector port, taking the total number to seven, while the piston bowl has been adapted for the new injector configuration.

Nissan says the X-Trail’s manual gearbox has revised ratios to deliver “a better compromise between acceleration, fuel economy and emissions” and will feature a gearchange indicator to encourage economical driving, while the automatic gearbox has been modified for reduced friction.

Revised underbody aerodynamics are said to have reduced the X-Trail’s drag coefficient from 0.36 to 0.35Cd.

“All of these changes will reinforce the X-Trail as one of the few genuine compact SUVs which can just as comfortably tackle the demands of everyday family life, as it can a muddy, slippery track when it transports a family for a weekend of adventure,” said Nissan Europe vice-president of sales and marketing Vincent Wijnen.

“X-Trail customers love it for its ease and convenience of daily use, no matter what situation they find themselves in. With these revisions to Nissan’s X-Trail, there is even more to love about X-Trail.”

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